Penn State Basketball

Here’s what heading to the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks means to Penn State’s Josh Reaves

Penn State’s Josh Reaves is heading to the NBA.

The undrafted, defensive-minded guard agreed to a two-way contract with the Dallas Mavericks shortly following Thursday night’s NBA draft. With the contract, Reaves will have to stay in the G League most of this season but can spend up to 45 days in the NBA.

“This means so much to me, knowing all the hard work I have put in throughout middle school, high school and college, it’s all paying off,” Reaves said in a news release. “I went into all my workouts with the mentality of putting my head down and showcasing my abilities, athletically and how I developed over time.

“I know it’s not the end of the journey; I know the hard work is not going to stop by any means. This is a step in the right direction. I’m really blessed to have this opportunity and going to try to make the most of it.”

On average, two-way contract players earn more than $200,000 annually — although the deals aren’t guaranteed. Each NBA team is allowed two such players on its roster.

Reaves, the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, leaves Happy Valley as a versatile athlete and the only Big Ten player to lead the league in steals for three straight seasons. He is the program’s all-time steals leader (250) and also has 1,079 career points, 540 rebounds and 310 assists.

“There has never been any question in my mind that Josh could play at the professional level,” Penn State basketball coach Pat Chambers said in a written statement. “He has the athleticism, skills and mindset to be a contributor for any team and have a long and prosperous career. We’re extremely proud of him.”

Although Reaves wasn’t invited to the NBA Combine or the G-League Elite Camp, Chambers isn’t alone in his assessment. The blog FiveThirtyEight ranked NBA draft prospects using statistical models to predict the careers of each player, and Reaves received high grades in both.

In the model that used stats and scouting, FiveThirtyEight put Reaves as the No. 33 prospect in the NBA draft — several spots ahead of the likes of PF Rui Hachimura, who was taken No. 9 overall. And, in the model that relies on numbers, Reaves was ranked 20th — earning comparisons to the likes of retired 14-year vet Jason Richardson.

The Mavericks, who finished 33-49 last season, were one of at least 10 teams to work Reaves out.